Thursday Sports in Brief

Sports

OLYMPICS

BEIJING (AP)China on Thursday dismissed the decision by Canada and the United Kingdom to join Washington’s diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games as a ”farce.”

China is also not concerned that the officials’ absence would spark a chain reaction, and numerous heads of state, government leaders and members of royal families have registered to attend, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing.

The three countries have said they won’t send government dignitaries to the games to protest human rights abuses in China. Under the diplomatic boycott, the countries will still send their athletes to compete.

GENEVA (AP) – Boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon were set a target of about 18 months on Thursday to make changes in order to keep their status as Olympic sports for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

The governing bodies of boxing and weightlifting were described as problem children by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, who has long voiced concerns with the leadership of those sports and issues with corruption and doping.

Modern pentathlon has effectively been told by the IOC to remove equestrian jumping from the event, provoking a backlash from angry athletes.

All three sports have been left off the initial list of 28 on the 2028 program, which will be put to IOC members for approval in February.

OBITUARY

ATLANTA (AP) – Demaryius Thomas, who earned five straight Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl ring during a prolific receiving career spent mostly with the Denver Broncos, has died at the age of 33.

Thomas was found dead in his suburban Atlanta home Thursday night, said Officer Tim Lupo, public information officer for the police department in Roswell, Georgia.

”Preliminary information is that his death stems from a medical issue, and our investigators currently have no reason to believe otherwise,” Lupo said in a statement early Friday.

Thomas last played in the NFL in 2019, appearing in 11 games with 10 starts for the New York Jets. He officially announced his retirement in June.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) – Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is The Associated Press college football player of the year, giving the Crimson Tide their second consecutive winner.

Young received 42 of 53 first-place votes from AP Top 25 voters and 137 points to easily finish ahead of Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (four first-place votes, 67 points) for the AP Player of the Year honor presented by Regions Bank.

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett was third; Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. was fourth; and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud was fifth.

MIAMI (AP) – Florida International hired former Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre to lead the Panthers on Thursday.

MacIntyre, 56, was most recently the defensive coordinator at Memphis.

He replaces Butch Davis, the former Miami coach who parted ways with the school after going 24-32 over five seasons.

MacIntyre has a career record of 46-65 in nine seasons as a head coach at San Jose State and Colorado.

NHL

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – The Vancouver Canucks hired veteran NHL executive Jim Rutherford as team president on Thursday.

Rutherford will also serve as interim general manager while leading the search for a new GM.

The Canucks cleaned house on Sunday, firing general manager Jim Benning, coach Travis Green and other front-office staff. The team hired Bruce Boudreau as coach on a two-year deal.

The 72-year-old Rutherford, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders’ category, was most recently GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2014-21. The team won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and ’17.

SOCCER

Theodore Whitmore is out as Jamaica’s national soccer coach, seven weeks before the Reggae Boyz resume World Cup qualifying and try to climb back into contention for a berth in next year’s tournament.

The Jamaica Football Federation announced his departure Thursday.

Trying to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1998, Jamaica is sixth in the eight-nation regional finals of North and Central America and the Caribbean with seven points. Canada leads with 16 points, followed by the United States with 15 and Mexico and Panama with 14 apiece. The top three teams qualify, and the No. 4 team meets the Oceania winner in a playoff for another berth.

Whitmore, a former player for Jamaica, began his second stint as national team coach in September 2016. The Reggae Boyz lost to the U.S. in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, the third-place game in 2019 and the quarterfinals this year.

SAO PAULO (AP) – Brazilian soccer great Pele said Thursday he will remain in a hospital in Sao Paulo ”for a few days” to undergo new exams on his colon tumor.

The 81-year-old Edson Arantes do Nascimento was brought to the Albert Einstein hospital this week for chemotherapy sessions to treat the tumor found during routine exams at the end of August. Pele was hospitalized for almost one month due to the surgery to remove it.

Pele said on Instagram he has been ”having small chemotherapy sessions as part of my treatment.” He added he had just finished the last session of 2021.

COLLEGE ATHLETICS

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida State has hired Michael Alford as vice president and athletic director to succeed David Coburn, who is retiring.

Alford will begin his new duties on Jan. 3. He had served as president and CEO of Seminole Boosters since last year and has extensive experience in collegiate and pro sports with fundraising, hiring and managing in athletics. Alford takes over a 20-sport program with a $106 million budget.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Vince Tyra has resigned as Louisville’s athletic director, ending a challenging four-year tenure in which he shepherded the Cardinals’ men’s basketball program through several NCAA investigations in between hiring head coaches for that sport and football.

University spokesman John Karman confirmed that the school received and has accepted Tyra’s resignation letter, that was effective Wednesday. Tyra’s departure comes hours after university President Neeli Bendapudi surprisingly stepped down to become president at Penn State.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Miami completed a busy week of transition Thursday, announcing the hiring of Dan Radakovich as athletic director.

Radakovich comes from Clemson, where he spent the last nine years overseeing the Tigers’ rise to football superpower under coach Dabo Swinney.

The announcement of Radakovich to lead the athletic department comes two days after Miami introduced Mario Cristobal as its new football coach. Cristobal, a former Hurricanes offensive lineman, was lured away from Oregon, where he had been head coach the last four seasons.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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